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Karen Constantine: District & County Council Report, June 2017

Thanet District Council and Kent County Council councillor report. June 2017.

Well it’s been such a hectic time since being elected to Kent Council Council on 4th May 2017. Those of you that have read my reports before will be aware that I try to do a fairly regular report in order to be transparent and accountable, but also to spread knowledge and make connections. You can see previous reports here.

As a ‘double hatter’ (sitting on two councils) I will continue to do that. I hadn’t set out to become a ‘double hatter’, initially in 2014 I wanted to get Will Scobie elected to Parliament and to win a seat for myself on Thanet District Council (TDC). I fully believe in local politics. Events in South Thanet took an historical turn with the rise of UKIP. My mission became to beat back what I believe is a racist and extremist far right party. This has led me into taking a long term sabbatical from my full time career as a trade union official. I’m grateful that I can concentrate full time on local politics. I intend to make the most of it. I have a lot to do and a lot to learn.

Nationally the country is changing. The scars of inequality are deep and many people are throughly sick of poverty. We are seeing distressing evidence every day that shows how the public sector – our public services – are becoming unstitched. We are witnessing how the profit motive never delivers for the public good. It’s just a basic fact!

Internationally, climate change, global security and global trade means in reality we are all ‘close’ cousins and must work together recognising our mutual responsibilities to each other.

Kent County Council Committees

I have taken seats on several committees at Kent County Council (KCC):

  • HOSC – health overview and scrutiny committee
  • Policy and Resource
  • CCF – the staff consultative forum
  • Treasury
  • Member of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

Activities in Newington and Ramsgate

Pop Up Surgeries
I have started to run ‘pop up surgeries’ so far these have taken place at Vinyl Head Cafe, Addington street, 16th June and The 26 Harbour Street Bar, 24th June. A further one is planned at the Labour office on 14th July, with more afterwards on a regular basis. My intention is to be as accessible as possible. Details of forthcoming dates will appear on the home page of my website.

Case work
There is a steady increase in casework, with housing needs and issues absolutely dominating. The introduction of Universal Credit will make the situation worse. More in this soon.

A other big issue is rubbish removal. I’m still pressing for a bulk rubbish removal scheme. We have asked TDC again. We will keep asking.

I’m pressing really hard to get a response from KCC on the on going saga of Pleasurama. Again I will keep pushing for this.

Ramsgate Port
I’ve raised the issue of whether it’s time to think again about the port’s designation as ‘industrial’. The rise in tourism is most undoubtably our future in Ramsgate.

I attended another public consultation held by Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP), who wish to revive Manston Airport as an airfreight hub. South Thanet Labour Party‘s position is clear. We feel the time is long overdue to enter into a useful discussion with Stone Hill Park (SHP). The consultation was confused. Different people were given different information, so agreed facts are hard to come by. What was clear is a cargo hub will account for 80% of the business, with a possibility – nothing in concrete yet – of some passenger flights. Night flights are a certainty. Jobs created will not be the high quality future focussed employment that SHP offers via advanced manufacturing.

Councillor’s Grant
Along with KCC county councillor Barry Lewis, we have decided to use our grants, as far as possible, to support local organisations. I am currently processing about 6 applications. More applications from groups seeking to promote and enhance community activities would be welcome.

Newington Road congestion
I’m meeting with KCC highways department to arrange a walkabout and have organised another big meeting at St. Lawrence School to discuss the escalating traffic congestion on Newington Road. I have meet with the fire service and our request for ‘hatchings’ (Rosa markings) has been agreed to. The meeting is on 12th July from 6.00 pm at St Lawrence School. All those with an interest are welcome.

Warre Rec children’s area park
I have now been able to get this fenced off and have also had a couple of benches installed on site.

Many of you will be aware that Kent & Canterbury Hospital has closed some services. We have been campaigning to stop this. You can see the press release and more details about the local impact here.

Street lights and safety at night
Labour leader Jenny Matterface and myself are starting an online 38degrees petition and a hard copy petition to get the 2,500 lights in Thanet, which are currently not retro fitted to energy saving LED and will not be retro fitted, switched on. Our demand is that Paul Carter must find this money or lobby our government to acquire this money. We are kickstarting this on Friday 21st July with a street stall in Ramsgate town centre. If anyone would like to support us we have colour petitions, posters and black and white petitions you can print off available as PDFs. Please contact me for more details.

Day to day news

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